The NFL’s response to charges of domestic violence by players in recent years has shown us that things are not as simple as they may appear on the surface. The role the NFL can and should play in dealing with this issue is hotly debated.
What the Issues Are
James Knox, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases in California with Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP, discussed the issue on the law firm’s website recently. Knox brings up that domestic violence laws vary from state to state. Since the NFL is a national organization dealing with teams in 22 states, it is difficult for them to enforce a one-size-fits-all policy. Not surprisingly, the NFL hasn’t even tried to apply a standard response to situations. Instead they seem to be as arbitrary as the prosecutors that Knox mentions who address domestic violence when it is a popular topic of outrage and practically ignore it otherwise.
Because of so many high-profile cases in the last few years, the NFL has funneled money into No More, a corporate-sponsored branding campaign whose Super Bowl PSA was widely critiqued for failing to address prevention efforts. It simply isn’t enough to throw money at awareness campaigns that focus on the aftermath of violence, while doing nothing to stop players and fans from engaging in the behavior to begin with. The tendency to be reactive rather than proactive has been the hallmark of the NFL’s responses overall, and that is exactly what is wrong with the situation today.
What the Situation Is
As an employment issue, domestic violence lawyers in Sacramento might say the NFL needs to be thoughtful of the steps they take. Employers cannot discriminate against employees by disciplining them based on allegations or enact disparate discipline on different employees for the same or similar actions. For this reason alone, the NFL should tread lightly in getting involved in allegations that have no bearing on the ability of players to do their job, which is to play ball. Read the rest of this entry →